When I got back from the Buck Brannaman clinic I decided to go for it and try to soften my horsehair mecate. I had found a blog post from someone who spoke of it, and I also asked a couple other people about how to do it. I decided there's no time like the present and since it was hot outside it would dry in a couple days (the blog I read said it took hers four days to dry).
I filled up a bucket with warm water and put in about a capful of fabric softener. I coiled up the mecate, dunked it in so it was totally covered with water, and left it for a few hours. When it was done soaking, I left it in the bucket and dumped the soaking water, rinsed and dumped the bucket again a few times with fresh water, and once the water ran clear and I thought I got all the softener out, I laid it out on my cement walkway in the sun and told Colin to keep an eye on it while I went to work.
I thought it would take a couple days to dry, but since it was hot out that day and it was out in the sun, it was dry when I got home! And wouldn't you know, it IS a lot softer! I didn't recoil it with so many loops - maybe just made 2-3 big loops - and hung it up in my office. I keep going in to feel it and remind myself that it is soft and I really like the feel. Now to just go for a ride!